Laura Dern wants to raise awareness for lung cancer after losing her grandfather to the disease
The ‘Marriage Story’ star was just six years old when her grandfather passed away following a battle with lung cancer, and the experience of watching him go through his treatments has made Laura determined to help find a cure
12 May 2021
Laura – who is an ambassador for the American Lung Association, for whom she also serves as an advisor to the board of directors – said: "I really went through his treatments, and everything that he walked through with lung cancer for the last year of his life, which was very painful.
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"And then of course the loss of him. So it was a huge memory for me in childhood, specifically the disease itself.”
The star also "had the privilege of playing" Cheryl Strayed's mother Bobbi - who died of lung cancer - in the 2014 film ‘Wild’, and said she and Cheryl “had so much in common” with their experiences of losing family members to the disease.
She added: "Also, my mother [Diane Ladd] was dear friends with Valerie Harper, who was an extraordinary advocate for others who were diagnosed with cancer, and lung cancer specifically. So she and I did an event together, which was so moving and powerful."
Laura joked she “bugged” the ALA to let her join the advisory board, and now wants to “keep doing more and learning more” about the disease.
She said: "I just hoped to keep doing more and learning more, and just watching their mission statement evolve in so many extraordinary areas.
They are considering lung health on every level. And that means so much to me as a daughter, as a mother, as a friend, and given my history."
The ‘Big Little Lies’ star also noted that lung cancer, which is "the number one cancer killer of women," has a "tragic" disparity in terms of whom it affects more seriously in terms of demographics.
Speaking to People magazine, she said: "People of colour who are diagnosed with lung cancer face worse outcomes compared to white Americans, because they're less likely to get screening early, to be diagnosed early, less likely to have surgical options and more likely to have no medical care with lung cancer. That is tragic."